Platelet aggregation is one of the factors that leads to cardiovascular disease and increases risk of heart attack and stroke. Blood thinning drugs such as warfarin and aspirin are used to decrease platelet aggregation for some individuals. There are also foods that decrease platelet aggregation and can prevent cardiovascular disease in some cases and help decrease the need for over-the-counter or prescription medications. Consult with your physician to determine the most appropriate course of therapy.
Antioxidant compounds in pomegranate juice known as polyphenols have the ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents, in part due to their antiplatelet effect, according to a study published in the April 2009 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food." The study tested both pomegranate juice and a polyphenol-rich extract for their effects on platelet aggregation and on several other parameters of cardiovascular effect. Both the juice and the extract reduced platelet aggregation, with the extract having a stronger effect. The researchers noted that beneficial effects were achieved at levels of both juice and extract that are possible to obtain through food intake, as opposed to necessitating high levels of concentrated extracts in supplement form in order to provide a significant effect.
The composition of fatty acids in the cell membranes of platelets contributes to platelet function in terms of aggregation and cardiovascular risk factors, according to a study published in December 2001 in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the flexibility of cell membranes, making them effectively more slippery and, in the case of platelets, less sticky and less likely to clump together in the blood. The study compared platelet fatty acid composition in relation to diets containing fish and white meat versus diets high in red meat and found that diets higher in fish and white meat had significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, while diets high in red meat had significantly higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
Red wine inhibited a protein molecule known as platelet derived growth factor, while white wine had no inhibitory effect in a study published in 2009 in the journal "Cardiovascular Research." Platelet derived growth factor is released from platelets and contributes to arterial plaque formation by stimulating rapid growth of cells in the linings of arteries. All red wines tested completely abolished the overproduction of cells in artery walls, as well as in heart muscle cells. The researchers identified certain flavonoids in the seeds and skins of red grapes as being responsible for the observed effects and suggested the possibility of enriching white wines with the substances to similarly enhance their health benefits.
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- Journal of Medicinal Food: Effects of Pomegranate Juice and Extract Polyphenols on Platelet Function
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The Influence of Fish, Meat and Polyunsaturated Fat Intakes on Platelet Phospholipid Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Male Melbourne Chinese and Caucasian
- Cardiovascular Research: Differential Effects of Red and White Wines on Inhibition of the Platelet-derived Growth Factor Receptor: Impact of the Mash Fermentation